In The News:

Dismissed….
On Thursday, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) began dismissing U.S. workers as part of a $1 billion restructuring to help the company meet profit goals as it adapts to shifts in the technology industry. Workers in New York, Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and North Carolina were let go. The New York-based company had a headcount of 431,212 at the end of 2013, down 0.7 percent from a year earlier, its first decline in a decade. The company has already begun eliminating positions this year in Europe, Asia and South America. Worldwide, this year’s job cuts could lead to the elimination of at least 13,000 employees.

Yellen…
Chair Janet Yellen spoke to the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday as part of her semi-annual testimony. Yellen testimony, originally scheduled for Feb. 13, was postponed because of a snowstorm, creating an unusual two-week gap between her appearances before the two committees that oversee the central bank. Since her House testimony, weaker-than-forecast data on retailing, manufacturing and home construction have suggested the economy is slowing, in part because of harsh winter weather. Here’s a recap of her testimony.

• The Fed is will monitor potential weakness in US spending because of the recent cold weather and storms.
• Lower inflation numbers will give the Fed more room to pursue its goal of higher employment numbers.
• Accommodative policy (aka taper) should remain in place for some time and at a steady pace.
• Bond purchases as part of QE will likely end sometime this fall.
The markets loved what they heard from the new Fed head as the S&P hitting a new record high.

High Flyer…
Things are a changin’ at Delta’s Frequent Flyer program. The company announced starting next year, the airline will reconfigure its frequent flyer program linking miles earned to ticket prices not to distance. In other words, spend more money on a ticket and earn more miles regardless of how far you are traveling. The program will be structured so that the status of the flyer will determine how many miles they receive. For instance, if you are platinum or diamond you will receive more miles than if you are were a silver or gold member. Delta Skymiles credit card users will also earn an additional two miles per dollar. Industry experts agree the move is an effort to woo business travelers, who spend significantly more per ticket than leisure travelers.

In The Markets:

Asia:
Asia markets ended their week mixed. Investors switched to “risk-off mode” switch among ongoing uncertainty in Ukraine and lingering worry ahead of China’s official purchasing managers index (PMI) due for release on Saturday.

Europe:
European share lost ground on Thursday amid increased political tension in the Ukraine and falling German inflation.

US:
US stocks closed higher on Thursday with the S&P hitting an all-time high. Better earnings, economic data, and Fed Chair Yellen’s encouraging testimony put investors in a buying mood. DJIA: +74.24 16272.65 S&P 500: +9.13 1854.29 NASDAQ: +26.87 4318.93

In Dinner or Drink:

Big Blue Sky
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. cream of coconut
2 oz. pineapple juice
1 cup ice

Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve in a red wine glass.

If you like our drink, click here for more.
Have a wonderful and safe weekend, Yall!